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Jesus. The conduct of this sinner is (taking into consideration the difference of intention in both cases) completely analogous to that of the woman with the issue of blood. She heard that Jesus was staying in the house of the Pharisee (as in Mark v. 27 it is said, she had heard of Jesus '); she presses in, and takes her place behind our Lord at His feet, 'stood behind Him'-she in moral shame the woman with the issue of blood (Mark v. 27 : came behind'), in natural female modesty. She wishes to take from Jesus the grace of the forgiveness of her sins, and for this end she completes the anointing of His feet, as a symbol of her repentance, just as the woman with the issue of blood will carry away. the cure of her sickness by the touching of His garment. Our Lord certainly knew not the latter; and with regard to the former, the Pharisee Simon only imagines that she must be unknown to Him; but in both cases, Jesus at first keeps quite passive. Notwithstanding this, the sinner had experienced a feeling of the forgiveness of her guilt,—for the Saviour suffered her conduct, just as the woman with the issue of blood was penetrated with the sensation of her cure. But what does our Lord do? After the dispute with the Pharisee, He says to the bending woman: Thy sins be forgiven thee.' It was by means of this declaration that she first received the forgiveness of sins, just as the woman with the issue of blood was first placed in the real possession of her health by the "Be whole.' Both narratives therefore continue in the same concluding words: “Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace' (comp. Luke vii. 50 with chap. viii. 48). The three other miracles which belong to our first group form a striking contrast to the narrative which we have just considered. We perceive in the woman with the issue of blood a peculiar energy in her striving after a cure. She had sought the means of the medical art even to the exhaustion of her property, and at last, with intense exertion, she forces her way to the person of our Lord. On the other hand, in the cases now to be considered, Jesus has cured in advance, before any wish either in word or in sign has been made to Him. At the same time, He had in these very miracles a real motive, which is shown with peculiar expressiveness by the word "answering,' apparently without a cause (Luke xiv. 3). This rested on the misapplication of the commandment of the Sabbath which He found existing, and which He combated. In fact, He wishes to uproot a pernicious error, and to bring to light an important truth. In this we agree somewhat with Strauss, when he says (in his Leben Jesu, p. 434; Eng. transl. ii. p. 162) that one being placed “immediately after the plucking of the ears of corn on the Sabbath, shows us that they are less concerned with the miracle itself, than with its having been performed on the Sabbath-day. But his further assertion, that 'when men were accustomed to expect miracles of Jesus,' in the formation of myths this event was seized as “a suitable occasion,' is arbitrary and violent. For, besides including the design of an instructive lesson, these deeds of Jesus have also at the same time, or rather at once and chiefly, their end in themselves; they are signs of the grace, proofs of the mercy of Jesus, and they must be conceived as tokens of the kingdom of heaven which was at hand. Our Lord Himself has taught us the correct way of considering them, by the expression : 'Go ye and learn what that meaneth: I will have mercy, and not sacrifice' (Matt. ix. 13 and xii. 7, 8). Whoever 'goes and learns' in this sense, will above all recognise them as works of His mercy, which thereupon will also illumine with brighter light the commandment regarding the Sabbath.
THE CURE OF THE WOMAN WHICH HAD THE SPIRIT OF
INFIRMITY EIGHTEEN YEARS. — LUKE XIII. 10-17.
The manner in which the evangelist St. Luke introduces (ver. 10) this narrative, which is met with in his Gospel alone, prepares us for the instructive lesson contained in it, just as remarkably as the continuation (ver. 11) brings to light the divine compassion from the point of view of a token of the kingdom of heaven which is at hand. Our Lord is in the synagogue on the Sabbath-day for the purpose of teaching. The sick woman has also entered the place, not because she had heard of the presence of the miracle-working Jesus, as the woman with the issue of blood had done, but to celebrate the Sabbath. There is certainly here no infraction of the fourth commandment.
But the description of the sick woman entering prepares us to expect that He, through whom the time of refreshing,' the true ‘Sabbath rest,' had appeared, should interfere with His assistance. She had a spirit of infirmity. The expression infirmity, ảo6évela, is used in Scripture for every sickness, and in the case before us, where the sick woman wants the power to lift herself up, is certainly justified. However, as the question is of a spirit of infirmity, and as the Lord in the 16th verse speaks of a Satanic cause for this infirmity, commentators (Meyer and Bleek) have considered themselves necessitated to think of a demoniacal state.
case occurs in the New Testament of a purely physical suffering, which simply took away the voluntary use of the limbs, being considered as having such an origin. The possession which always enters into the spiritual life, controls at the same time the power of the senses—of the eye, the ear, or the tongue. It is also not likely that a demon
would drive any one into the house of God, but rather (as we shall see later) into the deserts and among the tombs. The spirit (Trveûua) has a much simpler meaning. The evangelist wanted, it is known that he likes to characterize exactly the infirmities of those miraculously cured, as he alone speaks of a údpwTiKÓS ; he alone has the technical expression from Galen, TTUPETòs péryas) —he needed a technical designation for the sickness, as it was manifested in visible symptoms. He therefore chooses a very common expression to show the hidden seat, the concealed state of the suffering; but he no more meant a demoniacal origin by the declaration of Jesus in the 16th verse, "Satan had bound this woman,' than is meant in the passage in which the adversary of the pious is said to have laid chains on Job.
However, it is not the spirit of infirmity, but the manifestations of the sickness, on which the interest of the narrative rests. The behold' of the 11th verse points them out purposely to the reader, just as they attracted the eye of our Lord (He saw her, 12th verse; see also John v. 6, 'when Jesus saw him '). The woman went bowed down to the ground, totally (els TÒ Tavtelés) unable to raise her head; and this condition had lasted already eighteen years. truly such as to call forth the most sincere sympathy; at any rate it awakened the compassion of Jesus. And our Lord knows what He will do. He addresses the sick woman (the "calleth' in relation to the woman), and says to her: Thou art loosed from thy infirmity. The 'art loosed' points to the cure which happened immediately on this word; and the laying on of His hands can only have had for its object to awaken the feeling of it in the cured woman, to encourage her to use the strength which she has again received. And so she then raised herself up, and gave
God the glory and praise. The weak objection made by Strauss (Leben Jesu, 436) on psychological grounds, even in this case fails at once. Apart from the fact that a proceeding which appears reasonable when we consider the energy of the woman with the issue of blood, becomes inadmissible in a case of a resignation which was felt in an appointed lot, the psychological solution is certainly not applicable when our Lord Himself appeared prepared to act.
If this miracle is in itself conceivable as a work of the compassion of Jesus, as a token of the divine grace in Him, it is in this point still more evident, by means of its connection with the conversation following. The sense of this will certainly be proved. It is conceded that all these three narratives of miracles which were performed on the Sabbath are intended to place the fourth commandment in its true light; but in the case before us, this tendency evidently is secondary to another interest. We must consider the cause of the conversation of our Lord with the ruler of the synagogue. The dislike of the latter was as little simulated as the similar indignation on the part of the disciples in Bethany, Mark xiv. 4. The man prejudiced by the law, really did take offence at this 'working' of Jesus on the Sabbath. The hypocrisy with which our Lord accuses him was therefore expressed not so much against that, but rather against the disordered government of his mind, in which the most forcible contrasts were mingled together. The rebuke ranges with the similar reproach raised against the Pharisees in Matt. xvi. 3. For just as these latter did in one case what they would certainly consider guilty in another, so the ruler of the synagogue finds a proceeding offensive in Jesus, which in himself, and others like him, he would consider natural. "Exactos 'uwv, each one of you (without exception),